Notes on Being Bad and Transgression

Do I live off and promote sexual exploration because I believe it does good for people? Or rather because I am attracted incorrigibly to the thrill and danger of the forbidden? 


 As an antidote to the stigma, guilt and shame so often linked to sexuality, most people in the field promote sexuality by associating it with goodness, self-development, positivity, health, therapy, healing, etc. Something crucial, however, is lost is this. If sex is truly an event and not mechanical routine, it cannot not break rules (implicit or explicit). It feeds off risk, the thirst for the unknown. Fear, insecurity and frustration cannot - and probably should not - ever be simply avoided. On the contrary, it is by virtue of the chance to encounter negative emotions and effects that sex may happen. 


Sex is never without negativity. If you purge sex of all its unsavoury characteristics, then it's not sex anymore. Consequently, I do not call myself 'sex positive'.


In our culture, one sells something by claiming that it is good, that it will have positive effects. Could you ever imagine selling something without suggesting that it's good? Perhaps only illegal drugs. 


Bataille suggests that eroticism is a force of instability, a zone of taboos and transgressions. Eroticism, for him, is related more to evil than to good, because it is related to expenditure without reserve, beyond any usefulness or purpose, which is to say, beyond any limit. So it is more on the side of things breaking down and being destroyed, than being built up.


And yet, there probably is no creativity worthy of the name which does not take the risk of this erotic force of (self-)destruction. No birth without sex.


Philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche do not warn so much against being bad and doing evil. What they most strongly warn against is having a good conscience about it: excusing oneself, turning the bad into the good. This is unforgivable.


If you enjoy being bad, have the courage not to excuse yourself!


So it was utterly predictable that J. had a break-down during the "Being Bad" workshop and got triggered. I knew someone would have a break-down, I'm just glad it wasn't me. (Sometimes, of course, it is me who breaks down.)


But having said all that, there was in being bad also an invitation to be creative, particularly when we looked into each others' eyes: I know she can do bad. And she knows I can do bad. Se we share this secret. Or not.

Here are some writings and images from the workshop participants:




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